Tech heavyweights Apple and SAP are being taken to task in Russia, with officials from the government demanding the two hand over their source code to allay fears they can be exploited for surveillance purposes.
Russian communications minister Nikolai Nikiforov insisted a thorough check is necessary to determine just how private the data of users is, in particular those in the government and figureheads of Russian industry.
Nikiforov made clear in his comments that the revelations exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden are a driving force behind the demands. "The revelations of Edward Snowden in 2013 and public statements of US intelligence to strengthen [the] surveillance of Russia in 2014 raised the question seriously [of] confidence [in] foreign software and hardware," he said, ZDNet reports. "It is obvious that those companies that disclose the source code of their programs, not hiding anything, but those who did not intend to cooperate with Russia on this issue may have undeclared capabilities in their products." The agency also asserted companies that do not agree to the tests could well find their products leaving the Russian market.
At least 180 people are injured and four dead following explosions in Kaohsiung city, south-west Taiwan.
Blasts occurred at both Kaisuan Road and Ersheng Road, and were felt in at least four areas of the city, according to Russia Today. Taiwan's United Daily News said 182 people were taken to hospital and at least four were killed, while the city's Fire Department said the injury toll is expected to rise.
More than 2.7 million people live in Kaohsiung, Taiwan's largest municipality by area, a port city and the second most populous in the country. Witnesses reported on social media that gas leaks began at 9PM Taiwan time, creating a billowing white fog. Fires sparked explosions on multiple streets according to China's Central News Agency, as can be seen in this video taken from the dashboard of a car, embedded above, showing fire and plumes of smoke emerging from the ground.
Earlier this week EA unveiled a new subscription service for Xbox One gamers called EA Access. The subscription service gave the gamers access to a number of online games among other things. If you own a PS4, you may be wondering why EA Access didn't come to the PS4 as well.
Sony has now issued a statement that says EA Access doesn't represent a good value to the PlayStation gamer. There is always the chance Sony will change its mind later, but it seems the chance was there for the PS4 and Sony passed in favor of pushing PlayStation Plus.
"We evaluated the EA Access subscription offering and decided that it does not bring the kind of value PlayStation customers have come to expect," a Sony representative told us via email. "PlayStation Plus memberships are up more than 200% since the launch of PlayStation 4, which shows that gamers are looking for memberships that offer a multitude of services, across various devices, for one low price. We don't think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer."
If you use an Apple device that has a small rectangular charger, a new product has landed that you may like. The product is called the NomadPlus and it is designed to turn the Apple Charger into a portable battery.
The Apple charger itself slips into the back of the NomadPlus battery so it can charge the battery when plugged into the wall. Power comes from a 1500 mAh battery inside the small Nomad case. The company says it has enough power to recharge an iPhone to 70%.
The NomadPlus battery measures 2.75" x 1.33" x 1.10" and weighs in at 2.1 ounces. It does support pass-through charging and charges the iPhone before charging its own battery pack. The NomadPlus is up for pre-order now for $39.
Sprint is looking into a new budget wireless plan that will limit access to the mobile web for users to only connect to Facebook or Twitter. That might work out perfectly for some users if they only use the internet to connect to social networks while on the go.
For another $10 per month, users could get access to Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest in addition to Facebook. Adding another $5 per month would allow the user to stream a music app of their choice. Sprint will offer these new plans as part of its Virgin Mobile pre-paid service.
The plan will be called Virgin Mobile Custom and is aimed at giving users on a budget more choices. Initially the plan will only allow the user to choose between those four apps. The plan will be available at Walmart and has 20 minutes of talk and 20 texts per month.
The International Space Station requires a constant stream of new components, food, and water to remain in operation. Sometimes the US send up supplies and scientific gear and sometimes the resupply ships come from Europe. A new supply mission is underway from the ESA that sent an Ariane 5 rocket into space with a cargo ship aboard to resupply the ISS.
This particular resupply mission had something onboard that astronauts on the ISS will really appreciate, cappuccino and tiramisu. The resupply ship is set to dock with the ISS on August 12 at about 9:30 am. This is the last resupply mission that the ESA will perform.
After this resupply mission all future resupply will be handled by Russian Progress spacecraft and the Japanese HTC cargo ships. In the US resupply, missions will be handled by SpaceX and Orbital Sciences. Among the 5941 pounds of material on the resupply ship are cappuccino, water, oxygen, air, research gear, and spare parts. The cargo ship also contains 1896 pounds of fuel to be used by the Russian thrusters aboard the ISS.
There has been a bit of debate over the years amongst scientists and astronomers on how exactly the Moon was formed. A detailed study of the shape of the moon has revealed some new details on its shape, which in turn shed a bit of light on how the moon may have formed.
When you look at the night sky, the moon appears to be a sphere. However, the analysis of the shape of the moon shows that it is actually slightly lemon-shaped. This study looked at the Moon as it would be if millions of meteorites hadn't hit the surface and knocked chunks off it.
"If you imagine spinning a water balloon, it will start to flatten at the poles and bulge at the equator," Ian Garrick-Bethell said. "On top of that you have tides due to the gravitational pull of the Earth, and that creates sort of a lemon shape with the long axis of the lemon pointing at the Earth."
"The moon that faced us a long time ago has shifted, so we're no longer looking at the primordial face of the moon," Garrick-Bethell said. "Changes in the mass distribution shifted the orientation of the moon. The craters removed some mass, and there were also internal changes, probably related to when the moon became volcanically active."
Fans of Chrome for Windows have something new to check out on the beta channel for the software. The 64-bit version of Chrome for Windows is finally available to download and try. As a beta product, you can expect there to be issues with the software right now.
There are a couple caveats to the software as well; one of those caveats is that the 64-bit version only works with Windows 7 and Windows 8 or higher machines. You will also need a 64-bit version of those operating systems.
The 64-bit version of the software brings some improvements to the mix that provide better performance and fewer crashes. "To try it out, download the 64-bit installer from our Beta download pages. The new version replaces the existing version while preserving all your settings and bookmarks, so there's no need to uninstall a current installation of Chrome," Google wrote in a blog post.
Apple has announced that it plans to shed about 200 workers from Beats Electronics after it takes over. Apple gobbled up Beats in a deal worth about $3 billion this year. A person familiar with the restructuring plans says that Beats workers in human resources, finance, and other roles with overlap between Beats and Apple will be let go.
The source claiming to know Apple's plans didn't want to be identified since the plans aren't public at this time. Beats was the largest purchase in Apple history and gains Apple a line of high-end headphones and a streaming music service.
No official comment has been made by Apple or Beats at this time on the layoffs. The Beats headphones often sell for hundreds of dollars per set making them high-end and a good fit with Apple's high-end product mix.
HTC has been rumored to be working on a new Windows Phone 8.1 device that is said to be a version of the flagship HTC One M8 smartphone. New rumors are now suggesting that the Windows Phone version of the M8 will hit stores next month.
The rumors were substantiated when HTC began sending out invites to a media event in New York on August 19. The media invites don't say exactly what the event is about, so it could be unrelated to the Windows Phone device.
Rumors suggest that the Windows Phone device will be called the HTC One W8. Previous rumors claimed that the device would hit Verizon stores by Q3 of this year and that it would use the same hardware as the Android version on the market already.